At present, this time-consuming service is an uninsured one and its accompanying opportunity cost -- taking physicians away from attending to other patients on a fee-for-service basis -- is borne solely by the physician. Because the College considers the medical document to access medical marijuana equivalent to a prescription and, since prescriptions and activities related to prescriptions are insured services, physicians cannot charge patients; fair enough. But what about the for-profit corporations who are benefitting at the physicians' expense?
How do we get more doctors to practice in rural communities? This has been a long standing challenge in Canada -- getting physicians to work where we need them -- especially in provinces with large rural populations. Policy makers have created and implemented some promising solutions, but until recently, there has been little evidence on whether or not the solutions are working. Unfortunately, new research indicates that some programs aimed at retaining doctors in rural areas across the country may not be as successful as we'd hoped.
Tom, 46 years old and a skilled carpenter, came into my office the other day. He has not worked for the last eight years since he hurt his back in a car accident. He struggles to survive on $600 per month. For him, social assistance has not been so much a safety net as it's been a fish net -- a trap of indignity from which he has been unable to wriggle free.